After some personal uncomfortableness on my part, listening to my own voice, I have transcripted my chat with Ray Comfort that was recorded by Ray and a copy given to me for my use.
Here is the transcript, since I personally really hate to listen to talking heads. I read much faster than that, and a transcript is my favorite way to see what people say. I didn’t put much punctuation to keep the feel of the chat, but I think it should be pretty easy to read. I started with the autotranscript function on YouTube, and it was better than I thought it would be. But a couple of times, it had issues with Ray’s accent, and evidently mine too 🙂 although I’ve read somewhere that central PA is about as accentless as it gets for an American.
There are some interesting bit that I wanted to comment on since there were some questions unanswered, and some topics we never got back to.
Here’s the bit about creationism (and the start of the discussion about morality):
V: No, well some of that did. I mean after I read it because it’s not very often that the pastors I grew up with would mention anything except for the pretty plain vanilla fuzzy good Jesus parts of it. basically I knew enough science to know that there was no such thing as a 28,000 foot deep flood and you know went on through that then I know after I read the Bible I saw where this God killed David’s son to punish David but you know didn’t care about the child and oh you know the you know the usual stuff that you’ll hear from various you know non-christians
R: so you’re saying that the flood, the noahic flood which was said to cover the whole earth wouldn’t have covered Mount Everest with 29,000 feet do you realize there was no such things as mountains in those days, they hadn’t pushed up
V: there’s no evidence that mountains are that young and there’s you know to try claim that there was no mountains requires quite a energetic geology that would essentially release so much energy that would broil pretty much everyone on earth
R: yeah well that’s kind of what happened in the beginning the mountains pushed up like volcanoes do anyway…
V: those aren’t volcanoes
R; no they’re not but they are made of stone or rock I guess… I don’t know we’re talking about things I don’t know much about well um do you want to use that name Vel or do you want to use your real first name
It’s notable that a creationist admits not to know much about the earth. As I’ve written before, willful ignorance is behind most creationist claims. Creationists, be they Christians, Muslims, etc, all need to either ignore reality or intentionally lie about it. This causes them problems because their claims about creationism are contradictory, since they don’t even start out at the same place. We have contradictory claims about how creation happened by theists, and we have many different claims about how the Noahic flood “really” happened; all dependent on an ignorance of basic science. The folks over at Talk Origins have a good article on the failures of creationists with the bible flood.
After this we get into the morality discussion starting with my question to Ray about his god killing David’s son. Here’s a bit about that:
“R: yes yeah he killed David son okay did God actually kill, is it David son? or yeah David son when he committed adultery with Bathsheba it didn’t bless him with the child he said the child’s gonna die there are repercussions to his actions but he lets solomon live which is wonderful (?)
V: would you be happy if someone killed one of your children and let the other one lives
R: no of course not I love all my kids
V: then why would you accept that from your God
R: oh because he’s the giver of life he’s a giver and the taker of life and he’s the one that blesses with health and and in life itself and a peace if he deems fit to take a loved one what can I do about it I just trust him I trust his integrity so let’s go back to the issue David had a son died and God took him and God says your child’s gonna die did they actually happen
V: did resurrection actually happen
R: no did David have a son that god killed
V: no no I did if that didn’t happen why should I think that the resurrection happened
R: oh no not talking about the resurrection what I’m trying to get you to say is that did God kill the son of David
V: yes that’s what the Bible says
R: yeah but it didn’t happen did it cuz you’re an atheist so you say it didn’t happen because God doesn’t exist so why are you upset about something it didn’t happen it’s like being upset about the fairy godmother turning Cinderella’s coach back into a pumpkin.”
V: (laughter) well let me ask you if let’s just say that it did happen
V: and you said that you would have absolutely no problem with a god doing something you would be unhappy with the human doing correct
R: oh yeah I’d be I wouldn’t be the happiest man on earth of one of my children died but I know that God is the giver and the taker of life he created every bone every every drop of blood and my children he gave me the gift of children and if he deem fit that one of my children dies I can’t do anything about it but I can trust him I can trust him in it and say Lord you know what you’re doing you allowed this for some reason it may not be a perfect will but it should permissive will you’re permitted it and in that I rejoice I trust you because that’s what faith is about it’s trusting when often often things aren’t right
V: so you believe you have an objective morality from your religion correct
R: yeah absolutely
V: so if if it’s not moral for a human to do something why is it moral for your God to do it?”
If I were Ray’s kids, I’d be more than a little disturbed by this. I’d do anything to save my kids or anyone’s kids and that includes standing against anything, god or not, that would try to kill them. Heck, I’d do that for my cats. Here, it seems that Ray’s best answer is that I shouldn’t care about some kid since it was long ago. My morals don’t work like that. Injustice and unfairness are forever. He goes on to claim that since everyone is going to die, it isn’t a problem and that I should only be considered with my salvation.
We went back to creationism for a bit, and Ray deflected my request for evidence about which creationism is right.
“V: Christians are all they all have the one real truth but I what need to see is evidence that that is actually the case
R: well that’s it’s provable um now let me ask what’s that
V: how is it provable
R: we’ll come up to that in a few minutes
And of course we didn’t. That was fine with me since I knew at some point he would have to intentionally change the subject from something he didn’t like where it was going.
We discussed the Big Bang Theory a bit and unsurprisingly he intentionally misrepresented it. That also wasn’t a fruitful path for him (get it? Fruit?). So we ended up with the questions that Ray loves and are on more than few of his videos e.g. “Do you think you are a good person? Have you ever lied?” Have you ever stolen anything? etc.
“R: how do you think you’re a good think you’re a good person
V: I’ve heard you do this before yes I do think I’m a good person and I do not use your Bible or your interpretation to define what good is.
R: that’s what we often do that’s what I did before I was a Christian that’s what Adolf Hitler did I no doubt if I talk to Hitler he would say he was a good person because he had his own moral standard he cleaned up Germany got rid of brothels more than full employment got rid of the scum of the earth clean the German race and …
V: know that a lot of Christians think that he did a very good job you can see that on the news with the various Trumpies thinking having no problem with Nazism at all
R: you know what if I were you I wouldn’t cover the whole church with one blanket because Jesus spoke of true and false conversions he spoke of hypocrites he spoke he spoke of fake Christians and they’re the ones that often speak the loudest so don’t sweep with such a broad broom there are genuine Christians that believe the Bible love their enemies that do good they’re kind to other people they’re not nasty and if you find someone who is professing Christian and they they lack love you can say to yourself I don’t believe that person’s a genuine Christian, they are a Jew. “
Now, when he said this initially it caught me by surprise. The auto transcript picked it up as “ they are junius”. I had to rewind this several times and listen because I didn’t want to believe it but this does seem to be what he said.
We ended up at the questions about lies and stealing, oh and taking god’s name in vain later:
“R: let’s get back the question let’s get back to the question because we’re going down a rabbit hole um if you think you’re a good person how do you measure up to those Commandments
V: I don’t care about your Commandments
R: But how do you measure up to them
V: I don’t need to measure up to them
R: well let me ask you let me let me put you on the stand and see how you do how many lies do you think you’ve told in your life
V: I’ve told some and some were for a good reason just like the folks who did Anne Frank were lying to the Nazis”
This was again not working for Ray, and he had to claim I hate his god because I use his god’s name as a cuss word. There was more about how I have to be hating his bogeyman. There is more about morals, and I had a good time pointing out just how evil his god is. That got me told that I was “misinterpreting” the bible, but no explanation on how this was the case.
Then Ray was revved up and his words got faster and faster as he tried to preach at me. That preaching was interspersed with my laughter and refutations. His attempts at sowing fear didn’t work and that did appear to confuse him, leading to more repetition and appeals to how much my parents love me.
After trying to tell me, a former Presbyterian/calvinist, that I didn’t understand predestination “correctly”, we ended up with Ray trying to tell me that this god of his was finally answering my prayers said 40 years ago. That his god is timeless, yada, yada. Which again doesn’t match up with what the bible actually says.
“R: okay let me answer that God sometimes takes his time a day of the Lord is a thousand years to us and God is answering that prayer today and I’m trying to help you to restore your faith so you thank God that he chooses the foolishness of preaching to save those that believe. he speaks through donkeys he’s speaking through me today and telling you that he has no pleasure in your death and he’s answering your prayer and he wants to restore your faith. Okay”
And yes, I was very very hard pressed not to use the obvious joke here. 🙂
This whole thing had a great ending when Ray sent me a signed copy of his book “Banana Man”, and it had two Subway gift cards in it. I guess that’s what happened to the other $7000 went. You can see the saga of the subway cards here.